The were over an hour late, but the Obama family – mom, dad, daughters and mother-in-law – eventually pushed the button Thursday night for the annual lighting of the White House National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse in Washington.
As President Obama counted down from five, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, pushed the big button to light up the soaring blue spruce tree behind them, covered in cascading white lights and topped with a yellow star. It was the 90th annual lighting of the tree.
Mrs. Obama had on a bright turquoise blue overcoat with a sparkly texture over white pants and scarf, while her daughters were in knit caps and coats in orange, pink and poppy. The president was in his usual black coat and black suit with a burgundy scarf.
Neil Patrick Harris, hosting the annual ritual on the Ellipse adjacent to the White House, welcomed the Obamas on stage shortly before 6 p.m. After lighting the tree and shouting “Merry Christmas,” the family left the stage to sit in the audience where actor Rico Rodriguez, from “Modern Family,” sat with them. Mrs. Obama and Rodriguez later read from ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.
The president also made a few remarks, with special attention to the families in the Northeast still struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.